Burnley 1 - 2 West Ham | PL | 03.05.21

Burnley 1 - 2 West Ham | PL | 03.05.21

West ham reignited their top-four hopes with a confident away win at Burnley on Monday.The hammers produced an exciting display buoyed by the return of Antonio, who returned with a brace, to move within three points of London rivals, Chelsea. The final score flattered the hosts, Burnley, who struggled to deal with the Hammers' incisive play.

The game began in familiar fashion, both sets of players taking the knee - this is the final game before the end of this weekend's media blackout. With club captain Mark Noble out with injury, Said Benrahma came in for a rare start. He produced a skilful and energetic performance to give manager Moyes a welcome selection headache. Despite West Hams vibrant start, it was Burnley who took an early lead. Westwood's probing ball in behind evaded Diop and was met by Wood's forward run. The Kiwi, in great form, showed superb skill to recover after it initially looked as though Diop had retreated sufficiently to deny a chance. Wood confidently exploited the bouncing ball, flicked it inside, turning Diop on the by-line, before knocking it past Soucek. His untidy challenge was rewarded with the concession of a penalty. In the 17th minute, Wood confidently stepped up to finish to the right of Fabianski. His 7th goal in 8 games against West ham.

West Ham's response was brilliant. Having enjoyed spells of possession earlier, they were able to make their pressure tell. Evident in the first halves action, West ham looked to exploit the flanks delivering cross after cross; most were excellent, two led to both goals. First, Coufal delivered an invitation the returning Antonio could not refuse. His perfect cross was met by the forward located between both Burnley centre backs and out of reach of the stranded Pope. The second, minutes later, came from the other flank. Benrahma teasing his opposite number before delivering a curling cross, which would likely have ended up in the net unassisted, met with a deft touch by Antonio. His ninth goal of the season.

West Ham continued to play the ball around crisply, showing their Champions League credentials. Lingard in his free-roaming role, so tricky for Burnley's defence to pick up. Their incisive play nearly resulted in a third just after the half-hour mark. Benrahma involved again; this move was a carbon copy of his assist for the second. He was found by Lingard, on this occasion, on the edge of the box before he drove toward the Burnley goal to play another tempting cross. Unfortunately, just wide and beyond, Antonio searching for a first-half hattrick.

West ham's only other scare came from another ball over the top of Diop. Vydra got in behind and was very unfortunate not to draw the hosts level. After holding off the French defender, he flicked the ball inside and then over Fabianski advancing. If not for Craig Dawson heading away on the goal line, he would have scored.

The visitors should have taken extended their lead early in the second period. Fornals latched onto a stray ball and drove at the exposed Burnley defence. West Ham failed to capitalise on the 4v2; Antonio's cross cut out by Tarkowski to keep Burnley in the game.
Just before the hour, Antonio had a golden opportunity to claim his third. More intricate from West Ham and Lingard, who found Benrahma on the edge of the box, west ham mounting a siege, he then played in Fornals whose deflected strike squirmed its way to Antonio in the six-yard area. His right-footed sweep was mistimed and ended up striking his standing foot before Mee cleared.

Luckily for the Englishman, Burnley soon repaid the favour. On for Vydra on the hour, Rodriguez shanked an effort wide of Fabianski's goal after a scramble in the West Ham box. Burnley had enjoyed a period of pressure which led to a probing McNeil cross, initially not dealt with by Diop. Rodriguez could not adjust his body position to the bouncing ball and fired wide when it looked easier to equalise; Sean Dyche on the touchline could not believe he missed it.

Threatened by Burnley's miss, the visitors continued to probe. Even without his two goals, Antonio was a constant thorn in the side of the home team. His ability to pick up possession deep and drive at the Burnley defence exposed the PL's third-best home defensive side. Bowen, who came on to replace Benrahma, brilliant on the night, passed through to Antonio in the last ten. He found Fornals with his pass, who, instead of shooting, turned inside only to be met by Cork recovering. Another opportunity for West Ham to seal it squandered.

Predictably Burnley pushed late on for a nervy finish. A few rushed clearances and blocked shots aside; they failed to produce anything clear cut. After a valuable start, they'll be disappointed not to have made a more significant impact on the game. For West Ham, a vital victory. Following defeats at Newcastle and home to Chelsea, this win gets their unprecedented pursuit back on track. They were brilliant on the night and deserved to win by more.